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New to Idaho or just passing through? Either way, you may want to know about some of the best restaurants for date night in Boise. As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, we’re seeing a huge spike in population and diversity. It’s no surprise, therefore, that there seems to be a new place to eat opening every week.
Boise is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States and new restaurants open every day. This post will discuss some good options for steakhouses, burgers, Italian, Asian, and Mexican food. Don’t forget the cheesecake!
With that said, I’ve decided to stick with some old stand-bys. We’ve got six kids (read about the family-friendly restaurants in Boise!) and date nights are an important way for us to get away and spend some precious time together. We want to know that we’re going some place affordable and consistent.
Josh has anxiety about things being orderly and predictable, while I’m concerned about service and food handling. Once we trust a place, we go back again and again. In a small but growing city, being a regular really pays off. Here are some of the restaurants we enjoy for date night in Boise.
Asiago’s for Italian in Boise
We don’t go out for Italian often as I’m usually pretty strict with my keto diet. When we do indulge, we go to Asiago’s downtown. When we were still living in Virginia, we’d go to Maggiano’s regularly, but they don’t have a location here so we had to find something new. After buying a Groupon, we headed down to Asiago’s for the first time. We’ve been back several times since!
There’s a cozy vibe inside Asiago’s that we both enjoy. There’s an upscale feel, but it’s still casual. It really feels like a place that’s great for a family meal, date night, or group dinner. That’s why it’s one of the best restaurants for date night in Boise. We’ve tables of older wine tasters and couples with toddlers. There aren’t any booths, that I know of, so don’t count on privacy.
What We Order
After being seated, warm bread is brought to the table along with freshly shredded cheese and olive oil. Maybe it’s my carb deprivation, but we think that bread is incredible (and they bring refills – thank you!).
We are notoriously picky about our Italian food. Asiago’s menu is a little unique, and we decided to challenge ourselves. Fortunately, we were not disappointed. Here’s what we normally order:
- Arancini Carbonara (risotto balls rolled up with smoky bacon, coated in a crisp panko crust and stuffed with white cheddar. It comes with a side of bacon jam for dipping)
- Cinque Formaggi (fettuccine noodles covered in a rich creamy sauce made from a blend of romano, fontina, gorgonzola, asiago, and aged provolone cheeses)
- Sour Cream Rum Cake
Josh is pretty neutral about the Arancini Carbonara, but I absolutely love it! When we go, I get an order just for myself (but he always ends up stealing some!).
We both add marinated chicken to our pasta for good measure and it’s entirely worth it! Reminiscent of Alfredo, but with a stronger flavor, this dish is dynamite! We’re both interested in trying the Traditional Lasagne on a future visit, but I’d be very happy to have the Cinque Formaggi again and again!
We get the Sour Cream Rum Cake to share. The first time we ordered it, we didn’t know what to expect. We were blown away by how good it is! Then, we fought for every piece until it was gone! It reminded me of french toast, in a way, but it was also different from anything I’ve ever had before. The spiced pecans, the salted caramel rum sauce…I knew I’d pay for my sugar splurge the next day but it was heavenly! Highly recommend!
Yard House — Best Happy Hour in Boise
We love Happy Hour even though we don’t really drink. We thoroughly enjoy the half-priced appetizers and food, though! We’ve tried a few places in the area, but Yard House is the best Happy Hour in Boise!
We’d never heard of the chain before moving to Idaho, but now we see them everywhere! We stumbled into our nearest Yard House one day, not realizing they had a Happy Hour menu, and were pleasantly surprised. The offerings are robust, the portions aren’t skimpy and there’s enough variety to cater to different palates. This quickly became one of the best restaurants for date night in Boise for us!
Yard House Happy Hour Menu
First things first, their Happy Hour food selection is fantastic! Some places halve the prices, but they also halve the servings. Not Yard House! You get the same portion you’d get if you ordered anytime!
The menu changes from time to time, but currently includes the following items at half their regular menu price (options may vary by location):
- Poke Nachos
- Ahi Sashimi
- Pork Lumpia
- Spinach Cheese Dip
- Queso Dip
- Chicken Nachos
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Fried Chicken Tenders
- Classic Sliders
- Onion Ring Tower
- Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds
- Fried Calamari
- Moo Shu Egg Rolls
- Boneless Wings (Buffalo, Firecracker, Ancho BBQ or Korean)
- Gardein Wings
- Fried Mac + Cheese
- Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza
- Cheese Pizza
- Margherita Pizza
- BBQ Chicken Pizza
- The Carnivore Pizza
For those interested, they also offer $2 off all draft beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails; $3 off 9oz wine; and $4 off Half Yards (whatever that is!). Really, you’re getting a better deal if you go to Yard House for the food and not drinks, so we’re not complaining!
What We’ve Ordered
We don’t go to Yard House as much as I’d like because Happy Hour (from 4pm-6pm) isn’t the most convenient time for us. With the three little guys, we usually don’t sit down until 6pm. So, when we do go, we leave them at home with a meal prepped (which can take until after 5pm).
Typically, we save these visits for when we’re really craving it, or when family is visiting from out of town. What we order typically includes:
- Pork Lumpia
- Fried Mac + Cheese
- Chicken Nachos
- Onion Ring Tower
- Moo Shu Egg Rolls
- Boneless Buffalo Wings
- Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza or
- The Carnivore Pizza
We’ve tried the Fried Mac + Cheese and Pork Lumpias a couple times. They’re okay, but no one really fights over them. Also, the Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings can be a hit-or-miss. We definitely prefer the ones at TGI Friday’s in nearby Nampa!
The best thing about the nachos is that they are big enough to share and you can order them with or without meat. Another solid option is the Onion Ring Tower (which comes with a really tasty chipotle ranch dip). Both are great options for dining out with my vegetarian daughter!
The pizza is also surprisingly good, but my favorite is the Moo Shu Egg Rolls. In fact, I could go and just have two orders of them along with the onion rings and leave a happy girl. Stuffed with chicken, chili cream cheese, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and spinach and served with an applesauce kind of dip, they are really delicious!
Happy Hour Done Right
It’s a lot of food, guys — make no mistake. Two of us have easily finished the majority of an order like this, though. It’s that good! Best of all, we can take home whatever’s left for lunch the next day. It’s like Yard House Happy Hour is the gift that keeps on giving!
The Cheesecake Factory — Go For Dessert
If you’ve ever been to the Cheesecake Factory, you’ll know that the menu is huge. There are pages and pages of dishes with some being added (or removed) all the time. We’ve been to a few locations in several states, and we always devour the free bread.
The brown bread is my absolute favorite and I love that they sell it in grocery stores now! In fact, if I’m splurging on carbs and I make a roast at home, I’ll grab some. That being said, The Cheesecake Factory is not our favorite place to eat, but it has its perks.
What We’ve Ordered
As mentioned, the menu is gigantic, which is why it’s one of the best restaurants for date night in Boise. There’s something for everyone! We’ve ordered many things over the years. Most recently, we’ve settled on the following:
- Chicken Potstickers (mostly for me)
- Loaded Baked Potato Tots (mostly for Josh)
- Fish & Chips (for him – I’m allergic!)
- Teriyaki Chicken
We tend to like the appetizers at The Cheesecake Factory more than we like the entrees. No matter what we get, it always seems to work out that way. Overall, Josh enjoyed the Fish & Chips but wouldn’t go through the trouble of ordering it again (since he’s banned from kissing me from the rest of the day!).
The Teriyaki Chicken is not very good. There’s a weird coating on it, the sauce is strange (it’s not like my favorite restaurants in Japan, that’s for sure!), and the rice is too mushy. We’ve decided that, moving forward, we’re going for a dessert date and skipping the meal!
It’s hard to go wrong with cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. It’s absolutely delicious, if a little overpriced. Eat at home or grab a quick bite elsewhere, and then just head over and ask for the dessert menu. The entrees are overpriced, anyway!
My favorite flavors are the Key Lime Cheesecake and the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake. Josh really loves the Celebration Cheesecake, which consists of layered vanilla cake, cheesecake, strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla mousse with cream cheese frosting. Neither of us can finish a whole piece, but it’s perfect to take home and have the next day.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
The first time we checked out Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Boise was during Restaurant Week. The goal is to allow the public to taste, sip, and sample our way through a variety of creations crafted by the city’s very talented local chefs. By creating special menus at a lower price point, diners are able to check out new restaurants at a fraction of the cost.
When we saw Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Boise was participating, we jumped at the opportunity. We’ve both been to other locations (me with my ex and Josh with his family), but never together. In all honesty, it’s just a little out of our price range right now, but if you can swing it, this is one of the best restaurants for date night in Boise.
Still, we both really love the food so we were excited to see a menu offered at $30 per person! We got all dressed up for our night out, using it as a belated birthday meal for Josh. It was so much fun to see each other out of our pajamas or workout clothes for a change!
What We Ordered
As part of Restaurant Week, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Boise came up with a three-course meal, providing two options for each course, as well as a side dish. Josh and I ended up choosing the exact same meal:
- First Course: Caesar Salad
- Second Course: 6oz. Beef Tenderloin
- Side Dish: Mashed Idaho Potatoes
- Third Course: Chocolate Sin Cake
Our Caesar salads were really great and set the tone for a wonderful meal. The Romaine was fresh and crisp, the house-made dressing was creamy, and the amount of Parmesan was perfectly balanced. It was fantastic with the fresh, warm complementary bread.
The 6oz Beef Tenderloin was out of this world! Expectations were high and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Boise did not disappoint. It was incredibly tender, crusted with peppercorns, and served au poivre style with fried onion straws as garnish. Delicious mashed potatoes, which I scooped out one mouthful at a time to take advantage of the warming plate, had just a hint of roasted garlic and created an incredible flavor profile.
Flourless but absolutely decadent, our dessert choice of Chocolate Sin Cake was perfect. There was a delicious drizzle of raspberry along with a hint of espresso. It was the perfect way to end a truly magnificent and memorable meal.
The Melting Pot — Cheesy Romance!
When we really want to treat ourselves, we make a reservation at The Melting Pot. It’s absolutely one of the best restaurants for date night in Boise. We’ve visited several locations across the country and we always leave impressed by their commitment to excellence. It’s not cheap, but it’s definitely worth it.
One of the things we like best is that, from start to finish, the meal can take two hours or more. We’re often in such a rush when we go out to eat that we don’t really take the time to sit back and truly enjoy our time together. At the Melting Pot, we put our phones away (aside from taking a few cheesy pictures) and give each other our undivided attention.
If you’ve never heard of it, The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant, which means you’ll be cooking most of your own food (with plenty of guidance where needed). We’ve seen couples, coworkers, families, and friends sharing a pot (sorry, I don’t want others dipping in my broth, but to each their own!) and, generally, the mood is relaxed and happy.
The Melting Pot offers a variety of unique entrées, salads, and desserts along with seasonal menu items. You can choose to book a table for anything from a cheese or chocolate fondue experience to a full, four course meal. It’s customizable and, because you’re in charge of most of the choices, it really is one-of-a-kind dining.
What We Order at The Melting Pot
We’ve been to The Melting Pot many, many times and we always go with the 4-Course Experience. This includes cheese fondue, salad, entrées, and chocolate!
Menus vary by location, but here’s what we’ve been ordering lately:
- Classic Alpine Cheese Fondue
- The Melting Pot House Salad or Caesar Salad
- Steak Lovers Entree
- The Classic Entree
- Create Your Own Entree
- Pure Milk Chocolate Fondue
Maybe one day we’ll be more adventurous, but we enjoy the Classic Alpine Cheese fondue. The Gruyère, Raclette, Fontina, white wine, garlic, and nutmeg combine to create a neutral but complex flavor that works with all of the dippers. From Granny Smith apples to soft, brown bread, it’s all going in that cheese!
In the past, I’ve always stuck to the Steak Lovers or The Classic but when they added the Create Your Own option, I was all over it. I really love the beef, but I could eat the Chicken & Vegetable Potstickers every day for the rest of my life. Being able to combine them with whatever meats I’m craving is a great way to make the most of my meal!
Much like the cheese course, we stick with a traditional dessert by ordering the Pure Milk Chocolate Fondue. It is so unbelievably good even though we’re both pretty stuffed by the time it’s served. We enjoy dipping strawberries in the chocolate along with Rice Krispie treats, brownies, blondies, marshmallows, and anything else they put on our plates.
We’re usually blissfully satisfied when we leave, which is exactly what you want when you’re spending that kind of money on a meal. At least a couple times a year, we try to sneak away to the Melting Pot to celebrate. If you’ve never been, book a table now. You won’t regret it!
P.F. Chang’s — Asian Fusion
We really enjoy P.F. Chang’s. We used to go almost every Wednesday (we’ve cut down to save money for our travel budget!). Whether it’s in Las Vegas, California, Virginia, or Idaho, it’s a great way way to enjoy a fresh meal in a cool setting.
When we lived in Richmond, Josh and I would go for the lunch specials, and eventually dinner. I’d always get the lettuce wraps, but as someone who had never eaten salad or hardly anything green before we met, Josh would just pick through and eat the meat. We’ve come a long way since then!
What We Order
We definitely consider P.F. Chang’s to be one of the best restaurants for date night in Boise. We’ve tried many items on the menu, but we definitely have some favorites. During a visit, we might have any of the following:
- Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Cecilia’s Pork Dumplings
- House-Made Pork or Chicken Egg Rolls
- Egg Drop Soup (Josh)
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Crispy Honey Chicken
We always get the Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and guess what?! Josh eats EVERYTHING! He will fight me for every scrap, rolling it up beautifully in a leaf of lettuce and greedily shoving it in his mouth. He eats lettuce and salad now!
When we’re feeling a little extra hungry, we’ll throw in the dumplings or egg rolls. They are both really good and the dipping sauces are delicious. Honestly, I could just eat the appetizers and leave a full, happy woman. No visit is complete, though, without the entrée that I order every single time.
At P.F. Chang’s, I MUST have my Kung Pao Chicken. Josh can have a piece or two, but this is my dish, and if there are leftovers, I take it home for lunch the next day (there have NEVER been leftovers — I’m lying to you).
Josh almost always gets the Crispy Honey Chicken which is pretty tasty, too. He’s also fairly possessive of his entrée, so I’ve only had a few bites over the years. I like it, but not enough to order it instead of the Kung Pao. The good thing is that we’re both very happy with what we order!
On one special occasion, we ordered The Great Wall of Chocolate for dessert. It’s six layers of frosted chocolate cake with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Although it was delicious, we tend to be too full after a meal at P.F. Chang’s to eat anything else!
Big Jud’s — Casual Burger Joint
For a few years, our television was glued to HGTV, the Travel Channel, and the Food Network. As a result, we became very familiar with Adam Richman, the former host of Man Vs. Food. When we learned that Boise was home to Big Jud’s, a burger joint that had been featured on the show, we had to check it out.
During an episode, Richman took on the Big Jud’s Challenge. To be victorious, you have to eat a burger with two one-pound patties, bacon, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and Bleu cheese (on each layer!), along with all the toppings which include mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Oh, and don’t forget the basket of Big Jud’s fries. Eat it all in 30 minutes or less, and you’ll earn a t-shirt, a spot on the Wall of Fame, and some major bragging rights.
Anyway, it’s certainly very casual, but we do think Big Jud’s is one of the best restaurants for date night in Boise. We go there before a movie or if we’ve spent a day running around. Sharing a basket of fries can be romantic (as long as we both get our fair share!).
What We Ordered
Did we order the Man Versus Food Burger on the menu at Big Jud’s? Not a chance! We did, however, have the good fortune of watching a Mormon missionary complete the challenge during our first visit to the restaurant!
He was sweating, but in good spirits at the end and forgiving of those who could not take their eyes off him. Slim and fit, it was surprising to see him pack that whole thing away while a camera monitored his every move. His companions cheered him on and the whole place celebrated when he was done!
Here’s what we order at Big Jud’s:
- Double bacon cheeseburgers
- Fresh cut fries
- Tater tots
Okay, first things first, the burgers are good. I wish they came on a bigger plate, but they are tasty and the bacon is cooked to utter perfection. You will be very happy if a fresh, juicy burger is what you’re looking for.
I’ll admit, however, that those fries steal the show. Good gracious, those are some tasty french fries! There are times when I want to go by there JUST for the fries. It helps that the potatoes in Idaho are genuinely better than any I’ve had anywhere else in the world! The tater tots are also really good, and I was impressed by the onion rings. If I’m going to Big Jud’s, though, my money is going toward those fries!
If you’re in Boise and looking for a good burger, amazing fries, and huge portions, stop in at Big Jud’s. There are three locations where you can enjoy a laid-back meal or take on a Challenge or two!
Pueblo Lindo — Authentic Mexican Food in Boise
Based in nearby McCall, Pueblo Lindo opened a location in Meridian, and it’s where we go when we’re craving Mexican. We noticed it one day on Yelp, and were surprised by the incredible reviews. We tried it for date night and we’ve been hooked ever since!
The menu offers much of what you’d typically expect from a Mexican restaurant, but Pueblo Lindo does it better than any place we’ve tried in Idaho. In addition to great food, the staff are absolutely amazing.
What We Ordered
Confession: I totally judge a Mexican restaurant by the quality of their chips and salsa. Usually, this does not steer me wrong. The chips were warm and the salsa was flavorful. I knew I was in for a good meal. At Pueblo Lindo, no matter how many times we get to the bottom of our basket (three…maybe four times? GAH!), they keep the chips coming.
Before I get totally lost in my cravings for chips and salsa, here’s what we normally order:
- Pueblo Lindo Enchilada
- Pollo a la Crema
- A mixed platter
We go with the kids sometimes, so we’ve tried a lot of things on the menu and everything has been stellar. At Mexican restaurants, I tend to stick with fajitas, but the Pueblo Lindo Enchilada cannot be beat. The 10-inch flour tortilla is filled with rice, beans, and your choice of meat (shredded chicken for me!) and smothered with melted cheese and enchilada sauce. Then, it’s topped with lettuce, onion, cilantro, sour cream and guacamole.
All in all, Pueblo Lindo is a great restaurant with excellent service. The menu is extensive and the food was genuinely fantastic! The staff clearly take pride in their work and I’m looking forward to our next visit!
We hope this list of the best restaurants for date night in Boise has been helpful. We keep exploring new places (we’ve got Chandlers Steakhouse, Owyhee Tavern, and Fork on our radar). We’ll update this post with anything that’s worth sharing!